Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★½

The love story of Jesse and Celine is one of my favorites in cinematic history, a trilogy of films that is so honest and real that, ironically, it makes it easier for me to explain why I hate a majority of the portrayals of "romance" that get pumped out of Hollywood year after year.

When I watched Before Sunrise for the first time, I was stunned at the simplicity of the film, that it really was just based around following two young people spending one night together in Vienna before going their separate ways. As it ended, I realized that describing such a film as simplistic does a disservice to their work, because the screenplay, the performances, and the portrayal of a blossoming young love was a magical thing to see.

When I experienced the utterly sublime film Before Sunset, I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the whole thing, the charm and beauty of an unlikely reunion that opened the doors to a second chance at true love. I forgot I was watching a film, rooting for them to embrace each other and give in to fate from my couch as if I was watching the best reality show ever made.

Tonight, I got a chance to soak in and fall in love with them and their story all over again with Before Midnight. The most honest and heartbreaking installment of the series, but even as their seemingly perfect love begins to crumble I was still drawn to just how perfect Hawke and Delpy share a frame together. Even at their lowest point, it is impossible to not believe in how much they care for each other, how real their pain is as they feel each other slipping away.

My personal favorite film of the series is Before Sunset, as it swept me away with it's warm embrace and it's optimistic approach to finding real passion and happiness with another person, no matter how unlikely it seem, but I wouldn't debate anyone who says Before Midnight is the strongest film of the three. At times hard to watch, but the film satisfies by being the single best look at the ups and downs of an adult relationship that I have ever encountered.

A part of me wants the absolutely perfect final scene of this film to be the last shot we ever get of Jesse and Celine, but another part of me is selfish and wants more nine years from now. Realistically I think it probably ends here, and if so, what an achievement it was.

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